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News/Business. Suzanne Malveaux and Michael Holmes bring updates of the latest news around the world. New.

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TOPIC FREQUENCY

Boston 52, Fbi 41, Dana 15, Jay Carney 12, Us 10, Washington 9, United States 9, Maryland 7, Roger Wicker 6, U.s. 5, Russell 5, Joe 4, Obama 4, Mississippi 4, Brianna Keilar 3, D.c. 3, Lisa Desjardins 3, Jessica Yellin 2, Roger 2, Carl Levin 2,
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  CNN    Around the World    News/Business. Suzanne Malveaux and Michael Holmes  
   bring updates of the latest news around the world. New.  

    April 17, 2013
    9:00 - 10:00am PDT  

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capitol. do you often see dogs sniffing packages and backpacks of visitors coming into the buildings? >> i see the dogs most often when there are large trucks coming on to the complex and they must be swept by dogs before they come onto capitol grounds. often you'll see some of the visitor entrances especially. they do have technology where they will swipe, they'll use a piece of cloth and they will swipe a bag or purse and then run a quick test on the residue. so that happens, but that is not done for every person entering the complex. that's done as in some airports just randomly. and apparently there was no reason for this man to be stopped according to those regular security procedures at the capitol. what really seemed to raise the alarm bells here is that he was able to deliver letters in person against protocol that somehow members of some senate offices accepted packages and letters in person that they
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should not have. and that word apparently got to capitol police in time for them to find this man here in the capitol complex in the heart building i'm told and stop him and they are now questioning him. >> i assume they'll be going through those suspicious envelopes in the backpack as well. standby, lisa desjardins is in the building being evacuated right now. dana bash is standing by. she's at the russell center office building. brianna keilar's at the white house. we're awaiting a briefing there. here's what we know at the top of the hour, let's just reset for our viewers here in the united states and around the world. we're watching some potentially significant developments in washington. yesterday we learned that a suspicious envelope did reach the office of a united states senator, senator wicker of mississippi. an envelope that was tested not once, not twice but three times and so far proven to be positive for ricin.
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but authorities say they need more testing. they're sending that letter to maryland where the u.s. government does these kinds of tests for suspicious letters. a lot of nerves frayed as a result of this letter. and now a second letter they have stopped. a suspicious letter similar to the letter sent to senator roger wicker of mississippi addressed to the president of the united states. that letter is now being investigated as well. at the same time we've heard of these evacuations and the freezes, if you will, from various senate office buildings. all of this happening in the aftermath of the boston marathon bombings. so nerves are frayed right now. everyone is on edge as the president of the united states gets ready to come to boston tomorrow to participate in an interfaith memorial service. let's go to the white house, brianna keilar is standing by. brianna, i assume the president, he's all set, he's coming to boston tomorrow for this memorial service.
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>> that is the expectation, wolf. there have been no changes to his schedule. he is here at the white house today where he's had some meetings and been briefed on the latest in the boston bombings where he's really trying to carry on with at least some of the plans that he had in place for this week sort of signaling that what happened in boston on monday isn't going to stop him certainly and shouldn't stop americans from proceeding with their lives. he'll be hosting some bicyclists part of the wounded warrior project soldier ride. today, he'll be meeting with democratic senators offsite at a restaurant in d.c., as he's met so often with lawmakers recently. but the headline coming out of the white house right now, wolf, is a letter addressed to president obama that contained a suspicious substance and that's all that we're being told, was intercepted at an offsite mail processing facility. this is a mail facility run by the secret service where they get all the mail addressed to the white house.
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and they check it for this very reason, to screen it, to do scientific tests to make sure it's safe to come here. it had a suspicious substance in it, we are told, wolf, by a law enforcement source that there are similarities to the letter sent to senator wicker. what exactly does that mean i've asked my sources, so far, wolf, inconclusive at this point. we do know there were some marks, i guess you could say identifying marks in the wicker letter, a postmark from memphis, tennessee. there was no return sender. we don't know if that nor the message included in the letter to senator wicker if that bears the similarity, but we are being told that there are similarities. so it certainly makes you wonder if it could have been sent from the same person or if they think -- if authorities think it is. we're certainly digging on that at this point. you can see in the lower corner of the screen, we're waiting the white house screening. it was scheduled for 11:45 a.m. it's not that unusual for it to run a little later than what it
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is now. so we do know of course the white house press secretary jay carney will be receiving a lot of questions about these developments. but at this point it's also very much an issue, wolf, for the fbi as they look into exactly, you know, what has gone on with these letters and who may be responsible for it, wolf. >> and if or maybe there is, maybe there isn't, some connection to the boston marathon bombings. it may be totally unrelated. it may be some copycat individual maybe wanting to playoff these boston marathon bombings. we have no idea if there's any connection, if this is all simply coincidental. but it is pretty scary when you think about it. think of the enormity of the potential of what's going on. let's go to jessica yellin, our chief white house correspondent. she's in the briefing room. i take it, jessica, we're waiting for jay carney. this is his regularly scheduled daily briefing. it was supposed to start about
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15 or 20 minutes ago. so it's running a little late, as brianna says that's not unusual at all. but the circumstances of today's briefing are dramatic. >> sorry, wolf, i can't hear you. there's someone else in my ear, but i can tell you -- >> jessica, i think your audio -- we're going to have to fix that audio. standby for a moment, jessica. let's bring in dana bash up on capitol hill right now just to reset what's going on. the very latest, dana. tell our viewers in the united states and around the world what we know and maybe even more importantly what we don't know. >> let me start with giving you something new in the last few minutes. i got an e-mail from the communications director for senator richard shelby whose office is the one that's kind of in lockdown down the hall from where i am here on the third floor of the russell office building. and this e-mail from jonathan says that the capitol police are investigating a suspicious
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package delivered to our front office. there's no more information about this. but this is completely in keeping with what lisa desjardins reported a while ago. capitol police are talking to, questioning a suspect who came into the heart office building and potentially the same person came to this building to deliver a letter to the front office. when i say it's against protocol, it's because as we've been talking about with regard to the letters sent with what may be the poison ricin, that's all done at an offsite facility for this very reason. mail is not supposed to come directly to the capitol because they want it to be screened offsite. so that's where things stand here in the russell building. we are still now not allowed to go down the hall toward senator shelby's office, but obviously this building is still not evacuated because we're here. same goes for the heart building
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there. the people who are in the offices are still being told to stay in their offices. so it's not being evacuated, but there's kind of a modified lockdown there. again, the other thing i can tell you is that from our joe johns who was talking to law enforcement officials, they say that they do not believe that what's happening now with the lockdowns and suspicious packages doesn't appear to be related to the letters sent to senator wicker and president obama with what appears to be the poison ricin. i want to emphasize that what i just said, they do not believe because as you've been saying, wolf, and it's important to underscore everything is fast moving. we are getting information as law enforcement officials are and they're trying to figure out what the genesis of this is, what the source is and i don't think anybody really has a true idea of what's related to other incidents and what isn't.
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>> so many fears, so many suspicions only a couple days after the terrorist bombings here at the boston marathon and now these suspicious letters may be laced with this poison ricin, may be laced with this poison ricin reminds me, i assume a lot of our viewers out there, the anthrax-laced letters that occurred shortly after 9/11. it may simply be coincidental. we don't know. there's so much we don't know. we're waiting for this white house briefing, jay carney, the white house press secretary supposed to have started this briefing about 20 minutes or so ago. but it's been delayed for clearly understandable reasons. i think we've reconnected with jessica yellin, who's in the briefing room right now. what are they saying about the delay of jay carney's briefing. >> wolf, if i can start with some news i just received a statement from the fbi saying the second letter sent to the offsite white house facility addressed to the president did test positive for ricin on a
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preliminary test. the envelope addressed to, again, the white house, was quarantined and is part of now a coordinated investigation headed up by the fbi. this statement notes that operations here at the white house were in no way impacted. it never reached any area that touches the president in any way. the statement also adds that filters at a second government mail screening facility -- filters, also tested positive for ricin this morning on a preliminary basis. now, i've been previously told that preliminary tests as we know sometimes test positive and then you find out a negative test later. so that's why they're being cautious. so they say that second facility is now they're testing the mail at that second facility now. they say any time any suspicious powder is found in a mail facility, field tests are conducted. and you get inconsistent
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results. they're conducting full analyses. i'm sort of reading this as i just received it, and those tests can take 24 to 48 hours. so the investigation is ongoing. and they of course talk about burying the lead, "there is no indication of a connection to the attack in boston." so statement from the fbi, which again heading up the investigation there on the ground also with the people on the ground in boston saying there is no indication of a connection to the attack in boston, these letters found in washington so far not linked to that event, wolf. >> yeah. there was apparently no indication either, we still don't know with the anthrax-laced letters back in the aftermath of 9/11 and 2001 was any connection to 9/11, but a lot of this raising suspicions. a lot of questions being raised. we're going to try to come up with answers. i know law enforcement is doing their best to come up with answers as well. we do expect, jessica, the white house press secretary to show up
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in that briefing room where you are fairly soon. are they saying that briefing is still scheduled? >> yes. we just got our two-minute warning just so nobody reads too much into the delay in the briefing, sometimes these briefings are delayed and run late, half hour, even 45 minutes for no big announcement at all. it's just the sort of course of events here. so we got a two-minute warning. that actually can mean anywhere from two to 20 minutes. so we'll be here ready for you when he comes out. >> so that would be a loose two-minute warning. >> very loose. >> a very fluid situation over there. all right. standby for a moment. we'll see if jay carney walks out within the next minute or so. tom fuentes, our law enforcement analyst standing by, former assistant director of the fbi. quick question before we go to jay carney, tom. if these tests -- the preliminary tests, one, two,
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three preliminary tests show a positive reading for ricin, a deadly poison, are those usually accurate? or when they send them to maryland to more sophisticated labs they prove out to be inaccurate? >> no. they do prove out to be inaccurate. there's a very high number of false positives with the tests on ricin poison. and the test yesterday, the very first letter that arrived yesterday there were multiple tests that differed with each other in the field. so you had the first test that was positive, second test negative, third test inconclusive. so really the fbi is relying on the definitive testing from f t maryland. and, again, that will continue on -- >> that lab in maryland -- yeah, that lab, that's where they sent all the anthrax-laced letters as well. that's the most sophisticated
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lab that the u.s. government operates when it comes to these kinds of poisons, is that right? >> that's correct. they can examine weaponized anthrax, for example, and determine what strain, what particular strain of it may be. and that's why really they're waiting for that examination. these preliminary tests are just that, they're preliminary. if something suspicious, get it out of there and do the real exam. in the cases right now because of the sensitivity of these things occurring right after the boston attack that's why there's extra sensitivity and multiple field tests conducted. it has been mentioned all letters to these government agencies go to an offsite. none of them, anybody that's out there mailing a letter to whatever senator or congressman or the white house, president, it's not going to go directly
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there. it's going to go through this screening process. unless you have an individual bypass the process as dana is talking about at the office building right now, the individual being questioned having a backpack of letters. that is suspicious. but on the other hand this could be somebody that's advocating some cause and just wants to directly make sure that he gets the letters to the appropriate offices of members of the hill. again, kind of, you know, lobbiest on the cheek so to speak. actually see the letters he's got. what is he delivering? is it just about some cause? that will -- we'll find the answers to that i'm sure very quickly. >> i'm sure we will. because if they have someone that they're questioning right now and they have the backpack, they have the suspicious letters, they're going to go through that. tom, standby for a moment. once again we're awaiting the
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press secretary at the white house, jay carney, he's supposed to go into that briefing room fairly soon and brief all of us on what we know, what we don't know, a suspicious letter addressed to the president of the united states. a very similar letter that at least in one of the preliminary tests proved to be positive for ricin sent to republican senator roger wicker of mississippi that was discovered earlier this week. and now at an offsite letter -- similar letter addressed to the president of the united states. we're anxious to see if there's any connection. we don't know if there is any connection to the aftermath of the boston marathon bombing. i'm here in boston reporting on what's going on. joe johns is our crime and justice correspondent. what are you picking up, joe? >> well, the first thing, wolf, i think is a fairly important point to make that it's inconclusive so far, we're not certain it's ricin. but if it is, it's important to say no one was in danger because it didn't reach the white house -- >> hold on a second, joe.
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let's listen to jay carney. >> -- today. i know there are several matters that i'm sure you'll be interested in discussing today. a couple of issues that are under investigation by the fbi. and i thought i would start with that and then take your questions. as you saw from a statement from the fbi as well as a statement from the united states secret service there was a letter sent to, addressed to the president that at a offsite mail facility was noticed to have contained a suspicious substance and tests were undertaken. the fbi has a lead in that investigation of course and has said in its statement that they will be conducting further tests to determine what the nature of the substance is. of course there was another letter as you know sent or detected by capitol police that was sent to a united states
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senator. that also has been -- a subject of investigation by the fbi. and for more information about these matters, i will refer you to the fbi. the president, i'm sure you'll ask, mr. president has been of course briefed on these letters. he was briefed last night and again this morning. secondly, there is obviously a lot of interest in the explosions in boston. and i wanted to make clear as you heard from the president yesterday that our hearts and prayers go out to the victims and to their families who are injured, those who were injured and killed in this heinous and cowardly act. the full weight of the federal government is behind this investigation which is being led by the fbi. and as the president said, we will find out who did this, we will find out why and we will bring those responsible to justice. with that said, it is very important that we allow this investigation to run its full course. and to ensure that we retain the integrity of that investigation.
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therefore, on matters related to the investigation, i would direct you to the fbi. as you know, the fbi is giving the press briefings on the ground in boston. and i believe they will be holding another briefing today. the president, as you know, has been briefed regularly on the incident in boston. beginning almost immediately after it took place. this morning the president again convened a meeting in the oval office with his national security team on the ongoing investigation. participating in that briefing was the attorney general eric holder, the fbi director robert muller, the president's chief of staff dennis mcdonoul, lisa monaco, tony blank and white house council kathy romler, deputy national security advisor ben rhodes and the vice
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president's national security advisor jake sullivan. as you know, tomorrow morning the president will travel to boston to speak at an interfaith service dedicated to those gravely wounded or killed in monday's bombing. i have a scheduling update for you on that. the first lady will be joining the president on the trip to boston. with that i will take your questions. >> obviously the public is already pretty nervous given the situation in boston. has the fbi told the white house about anything whether the letters that have been received are related to the boston incident? >> i would point you to the statement that the fbi put out. it is my understanding that they have not made that connection. but i would refer you to the fbi for that. >> do you know if they're not making that connection or if they've ruled out the connection? >> i would refer you to the fbi. >> so at this point there's nothing you can say to the public to reassure them? >> well, i can tell you in line as you know for a long time now there have been long established procedures and protocols. any time a suspicious powder is located in a mail facility, it
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is tested. and i would underscore that the mail is screened, the mail sent here is screened and that these tests are undertaken at remote sites to mitigate the risk both to those recipients and to the general population. the fbi has the lead for determining whether a suspicious powder is a dangerous substance such as ricin. and those take place at a credited facility. and they take a certain amount of time as the fbi has indicated. these procedures are in place, the procedures are effective in operation now and we are in the midst of that process which the fbi is undertaking at this time. >> again, there's nothing you can say about whether there's any connection in the letter to the boston incident? >> i would point you to the fbi which has the lead investigation -- the lead in the investigation into each matter. and what they have said about this and their assessments on any connection between these two matters.
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>> i imagine you will probably point me to the fbi, but is there any indication on the boston explosion on whether this looks to be a foreign terrorist incident or a domestic incident? >> what the president said yesterday remains true today, which is that there is an active investigation ongoing. we have the full weight of the federal government behind this investigation being led by the fbi. all components of the federal government are assisting including the intelligence community and others, assisting state and local authorities assisting the fbi in this investigation. as the president said, we do not know at this time yet whether it was an organization or an individual, foreign or domestic. but we will find out. and we will hold accountable and bring to justice whoever is responsible. but this investigation is now not even 48 hours old.
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and it is important that we maintain the integrity of the investigation. it is important as both state and local law enforcement officials and government officials as well as federal officials have made clear that the american people provide whatever information they might have that could be of assistance in this investigation. there is an 800 number, 1-800-call-fbi, which has been put out to provide a method for individuals who might have information to contact law enforcement on this matter. and that is absolutely the responsible thing to do. but the details of the progress of the investigation, assessments about preliminary assessments about who may be responsible, i will not make and i think that as a matter of
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upholding the integrity of the investigation, others will not as well. yes. >> jay, there's still tape around pennsylvania avenue in front of the white house, is that a temporary measure? or has there been in other threat to the white house? >> i'm not aware of any, jeff. i think the secret service said yesterday that out of -- through normal procedures and through an abundance of caution that certain actions are taken. but i would refer you to them for any details about the perimeter and any actions the secret service might be taking today. >> is the president discouraged at all by the fact that there aren't more leads in the boston bombing? >> i wouldn't say one way or the other because i think it's important to allow the investigators to do their work. he is being briefed on this regularly. he had a substantial meeting earlier today. lisa monaco is updating him
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continuously throughout the day and in the evening and the night on these matters, but i wouldn't characterize his view of the investigation because that would then characterize the investigati investigation. [ inaudible question ] >> it will be one of resolve. it will be one of the commonality that we feel with people visiting boston and those for the marathon and endured this horrific event and demonstrated their bravery in its immediate aftermath. i mean, i would obviously ask you to wait until you hear his remarks, but as you heard him say yesterday from this podium the way that the people of boston and the city of boston
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responded, it reminds us and the world of just who we are as a people. >> how did he react to the briefings about the letters that were addressed to him? >> the president was briefed on these matters. i don't have a way to characterize his reaction. obviously he understands and we all understand that there are procedures in place as the fbi has said. there's a process in place that ensures that materials that are suspicious or substances that are found to be suspicious at remote locations are then sent for secondary and more intense testing. and that process is underway now. yes. >> jay, following on the question at the end of the fbi's statement they say there's no indication of a connection of the attack in boston. why they won't explicitly rule out a connection, nor will you, why is that? >> well, i would point to the
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fbi, which you've just cited where they say there is no indication. that's a pretty clear statement. >> but that still leaves a possibility of a connection. so it would be reassuring for you to stand there and say there is no connection. >> i think that's for the investigating authoritying to say they have made a fairly clear statement which i was suggesting to julie that was available in the statement they put out. i'm not going to assess it further from here. i would remind you that these investigations both of the bombings in boston and the letters in question here are just underway. and, you know, i wouldn't presume to characterize the nature of the investigations. i would point to the statement by the fbi, as you said they made, they have no indication of a connection between the two. >> there are a lot of letters now -- may i clarify? the statement refers to two different facilities. we also know of a letter that
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was sent to capitol. can you clarify is that three facilities and letters total or just two? >> i would refer you to the fbi. my understanding what i'm aware of is the letter sent to the member of senate and a letter sent to the president. but there have been reports i think the fbi have said of other potential letters. i don't know if that's the case. i would refer you to the statement by the fbi. >> and given the number of letters and possible packages -- suspicious packages, is it concerning to the administration that there's something else going on here? that there's something trying to follow on a lone wolf? somebody trying to capitalize on the concern after boston? >> i think those are questions that investigators are looking to answer. i would point you to what the fbi has said already, what the secret service has said. and make clear that we have had procedures in place for quite some time now when it comes to the processing of mail sent to
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the white house complex. ensure that mail is screened at an offsite to they're not a risk to people here and the public and those procedures have been in place for a long time. i would check with the fbi to see what assessments we'll make along the lines that you're asking, but again this is very early. >> one more. is this something that happens every so often and we just don't hear about it because there's not as much interest in this kind of thing? or is this an unusual occurrence? >> well, again, the fbi and the secret service are best to ask these questions of because they handle the processing -- or investigation in one case and capitol police and secret service handled the assessments of it.
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it is certainly the case as i think the fbi pointed out that when preliminary tests are done, secondary and i suppose third tests are made because they need accuracy for sure about what the substances might be, but for the history of this i would refer you to the fbi, secret service and capitol police. john. >> just for clarification, the letter or envelope received here, have a return address -- >> it was not received here. >> i'm sorry. the addressed to the president did it have the same return address? >> again, that's a subject of the investigation. i have no information on the nature of the mailing label or return address. that would be for the fbi to address. >> and do you know if there was a letter in this envelope? or is it just -- >> again, i have no -- the reason why i opened with a statement about it is to make clur that this is a matter under
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investigation by the fbi and that they have the lead in both investigating and providing information on that investigation to the public. >> okay. let me ask you something you definitely know about. the gun control votes on capitol hill today certainly looks like it's going down in defeat. what does this say? what happens next? is the president going to continue his fight on this? >> the president believes very strongly that the senate should pass the background checks bill. you have heard him speak nationally about this issue. the families of newtown victims have been in washington speaking to lawmakers about the need to pass common sense legislation to reduce gun violence. this was always going to be difficult. we said that from the beginning. the reason why these common
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sense provisions aren't law already is because they are difficult. and there's no question that the path to 60 in this case is difficult, but it is not unachievable. and we hope that members of the senate after speaking with newtown families who are on capitol hill right now meeting with lawmakers, consider who they're representing. 90% of the american people support expanded background checks. majorities in every state where there is data availability overwhelmingly support background checks, every state. republicans, democrats, gun owners, independent supporters -- >> all right. we're going to break away briefly from jay carney, the white house press secretary. we're getting some exclusive information from cnn's john king who is working his sources here in boston.
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and john is learning from boston law enforcement -- a boston law enforcement source and i want to be precise in what he's learning. this source telling john there has now been determined to be "substantial progress in the criminal investigation into the boston marathon bombings" and to quote this source "this is significant." we don't have more information. we don't know what the substantial progress is, but they're now suggesting that there is a significant development in this investigation, substantial progress. we're trying to reconnect with john. we'll get him on the phone very soon. he'll get us more information. but this potentially is a significant development in the investigation into the boston marathon bombings, three people killed, nearly 200 people injured as a result of that. meanwhile, there's other activity going on in washington right now including a capitol hill police briefing, the evacuation of some senate office
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buildings. let's listen in. >> -- responding to a suspicious envelope. we're currently conducting an investigation right now. and i plan oncoming back with some more information shortly, but please be advised we're currently investigating the situation in both the russell and hart building. that's all i can tell you -- russell and hart. >> the first and third floors of hart? >> the only thing i can tell you right now is we're investigating first and third floors in both areas. >> is there an individual being held? >> that's all i can tell you. i'll be back to give more information as soon as i receive it. thank you. we have professionals on site investigating this. >> they need to stay put until indefinitely?
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>> envelope or package -- controlling access to the building right now. i'll be back with more updates. thank you. amprobus -- facnell -- >> a little statement. not much from capitol hill police. they're investigating suspicious packages in two senate office buildings. the russell senate office building, the hart senate office buildings. people have been told to stay put ob to leave as a result of these suspicious materials that are there that have been found there. all of this raising enormous questions in the aftermath. clearly understandably nervous feelings as a result of what happened here in boston. dana bash is standing by. dana, i want to recap for our viewers what's going on who may just be tuning in in the united states or around the world right now. we all know what happened in
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boston. these two bombings at the end of the boston marathon, three people killed, nearly 200 people injured. in the aftermath of that we just got confirmation once again from the white house the president will be here in boston tomorrow attending an interfaith memorial service, a service honoring those who were injured. obviously honoring those who were killed as well. and we were told that the first lady michelle obama will be joining the president at this interfaith memorial service. meanwhile, there may be connected activities or unconnected activities happening in washington right now. we know that there's been a suspicious envelope believed or at least suspected to be laced with the poison ricin sent to one united states senator roger wicker, a republican of mississippi. and that there was a similarly laced letter sent to the president of the united states that has been apprehended at an off white house site that reviews packages and letters that come to the white house for
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anything suspicious. the white house press secretary jay carney confirming the existence of this suspicious letter. the fbi also saying it was suspicious. they're sending it to fort detrick, maryland, the u.s. government's lab for any poisons, whether it's ricin or anthrax or anything along those lines. the president obviously nowhere near that letter. let's go to our chief congressional correspondent dana bash. she's watching all of this. dana, roger wicker's office gets a letter like this. and now there are indications maybe other letters. and there's someone walking around the hart senate office building with a backpack delivering suspicious letters. what's going on? >> well, that's right. i guess maybe just to sort of because there's so much going on maybe we should clarify and separate the issues for our viewers. let's start with what you were just talking about, what we first reported yesterday on the letters that appear to be laced
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with ricin. first one went to senator roger wicker. that as we speak is being tested as a lab in ft. detrick, maryland. i was told by the chief law enforcement official here in the senate yesterday that he felt confident that it was actually ricin, but of course they're still doing other tests. separately of course we've been reporting as we heard from the white house press secretary similar kind of letter was addressed to the president. and it went to an offsite facility where the white house gets its mail. so there's testing also being done on that particular letter. now, separate from all that there is activity here on the capitol complex starting with where i am right now in the russell office building. down the hall from where i am senator richard shelby's office is effectively in lockdown. i got an e-mail from his communications director saying that somebody went to the office and gave the person at the front desk a letter that they
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shouldn't have gotten and it shouldn't have happened because that's not the protocol. the protocol is anything that's sealed needs to start at the offsite facility. so that's why a hazmat team has been here. that's why that particular as you can see down the hall right there, that hallway is closed off and we can't go down there. as you see i'm standing here, so they're not that concerned about the safety of others around this building. separately you just heard a little about a spokesman from the capitol police department, in the hart building there's also some activity going on. what they're calling it is sheltering in place. that's the way they're describing what these staffers and even some senators need to do. those in their offices are asked to stay in their offices. those who are out cannot go back in as they look for whatever it is that they have seen there, suspicious packages. in fact lisa desjardins reported capitol police are questioning someone with a backpack who might have been the person who
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delivered the suspicious letters or packages around the capitol complex. we're working to see if capitol police has more information. one piece of information as our viewers know and we heard from the white house spokesman, there's going to be a very big vote in the senate on background checks for guns in a little bit more than three hours. one of the chief sponsors of that, joe manchin, has an office in the hart building. and our producers and others watched him try to get into his office to work the phones and try to get other senators on board because it looks like this is going to fail. he couldn't get into his office. so they said it was this wild scene where the senator was on his cell phone looking through the window of his own office talking to his senators because he couldn't get in, they couldn't get out. he decided to come to the capitol and work from a different office. that gives you a sense of how frankly bizarre things are here if nothing else. and certainly there's no question you can feel the tension here. >> and everybody's going through
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letters right now. they're all looking at anything that potentially could be suspicious including senator carl levin, the democratic senator from michigan, the chair of the senate armed services committee. what do we know about this particular letter, dana? >> we just got a statement from senator carl levin's office that a staffer in his saganaw, office, you see the pictures there from our affiliate, a suspicious letter that just looked a little odd. so this staffer contacted the local authorities and now they're investigating this particular letter. they don't have anymore information than that. i tried to contact the office to see if there's anything at all that could indicate that there's some similarity between that letter and the one that went to senator roger wicker. i haven't heard back yet. obviously that is probably one of the key questions, whether or not that's why the staffer said this looks odd because maybe the staffer heard about the kind of
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markings that senator wicker's office got, no return address, the fact it came from memphis, tennessee, we're working on that as well. >> i think people will be looking at all sorts of suspicious looking letters that they get. a lot of us including you, dana, vividly remember the anthrax-laced letters that popped up right after 9/11 in 2001. just remind our viewers. you were working up on capitol hill. and i believe -- correct me if i'm wrong, dana, but as a result of you're being near some letters just out of an abundance of caution you were advised to take sipro, right? >> that's exactly right. i think it was a couple weeks after the attacks of 9/11 which obviously affected the whole country but really affected people here in the capitol complex and around washington. and we got word that there was a suspicious package, much like
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what we're hearing today that went to the office of senator tom daschle, and reporters like us we run to the scene and we find out later that the letter was laced with anthrax. because of that many, many staffers on capitol hill, even senators had to take the antibiotic as did i. we all remember something similar happened at the offices of nbc in new york and elsewhere. turned out at the end of the day we found out much later that it was not a related incident to 9/11. but we didn't know that then. and we don't know now even though we are hearing -- we saw from the fbi statement that jessica was just asking jay carney about that they don't believe that there is a link between boston and what we're seeing here. but they're leaving wiggle room. so that definitely raises question. >> yeah. to this day there are still plenty of unanswered questions about those anthrax-laced letters that were sent to
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members of the senate, members of the news media and others as well. that investigation never completely 100% satisfactory by any means. dana, standby. joe johns is our crime and justice correspondent. you're getting more information, joe, on what's going on. what are you picking up? >> dribs and drabs quite frankly, wolf. first we're being told authorities letting people out of their offices in the hart building there on capitol hill on the senate side, but they have not been given the all clear sign yet. so we don't know what all of that means at this time. we're also hearing from the fbi that in addition to the two suspected ricin letters in that statement that was released, field tests on the equipment at the mail facility also tested positive and the question of course is whether that suggests there was another letter or whether this was a case of the mail equipment being tainted. they're still trying to figure that out. the fbi also says they expect to
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get these ricin results back from fort detrick in maryland some time this afternoon. we don't know how long that is. that's very significant. and also the business about the mail equipment is very significant as well. because, wolf, as you know back in 2001 there were many reports that because no senators got sick and no one in the offices got sick because none of these letters got through to the government offices they were intended for that everything was okay. and it absolutely wasn't the case with anthrax. we don't know yet whether this was in fact ricin, but the real concern right now is about postal workers and people in the chain of the mail wherever it may have ended up. the question of course whether those people are being checked and what the authorities are doing for those folks right now. i've been talking to union officials with the postal
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service and others to try to determine the extent to which precautions have been made, but that is part of the story. and it's important to point that out because in 2001 it was postal workers who got sick with anthrax. as we move forward to try to determine whether this was in fact ricin, we also have to keep one eye on those government employees, those nameless government employees who could have handled these letters, wolf. >> and at least one, i believe, maybe a couple of those postal workers actually died -- >> two. >> two, that's right, joe. i remember it pretty clearly speaking to some surviving family members, postal workers dead as a result of those anthrax-laced letters that occurred near the end of 2001 shortly after 9/11. apparently no connection, but still lots of unanswered questions about the anthrax-laced letters. we don't know if there's any
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connection now with what may be ricin-laced letters to members of senate and maybe to the president of the united states and what happened here on monday maybe. people are nervous and jittery even more so as a result of this for good reason. joe, standby. brianna keilar is over at the white house. are you getting more information over there on that letter? that suspicious letter that was addressed to the president, brianna? >> wolf, we don't have more information from the white house. we heard from jay carney and he really left it at that that the fbi will be continuing to -- will take the lead on this investigation. but i think it's important to note that in the briefing jay carney would not rule out a connection between the boston bombings and these letters, these two letters, one to senator wicker, one to president obama. he was not confirming of course that there was a connection, but i think the reason why there are these big questions about whether there could be a connection and why this might be
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different than the anthrax letters we saw following 9/11 that at first as dana mentioned thought were connected to 9/11 and obviously turned out not to be. but i think there's something that makes this very different and that that's the letters were received on tuesday, one day after the bombing. >> brianna, i want to interrupt you for a moment. brianna, hold on for a moment. dana bash is getting some more information. i'll come back to you, brianna. go ahead, dana. >> that's right. we are being told by capitol police that the capitol police have removed suspicious packages from both office buildings here in the senate complex that were in modified lockdown both in the hart building and where i am here in the russell building. they say that they've removed the suspicious packages and that the areas on this floor and over in the hart building are now open. so that has changed. obviously we do not know based on this very short statement we just got what the suspicious packages were, whether removing them means they're going to test
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them somewhere else or turned out to be kind of nothing and it was a false alarm. we'll try to get sclarification on. but the incident and event that's been going on here in the senate complex appears to be over right now. >> people understandably, dana, are a little jittery. the staffers, the others, people who are working on the senate side, presumably on the house side as well but especially on the senate side of the u.s. capitol. >> oh, there's no question about it. there is definitely a different feel here. after 9/11 everybody in the country had the jitters. and you especially felt it here in the capitol where people realized not long after the attack that one of the planes, the plane that eventually crashed in pennsylvania could have been likely headed for this building. and that combined with the attacks with anthrax-laced letters that came to two senators, really you had a feeling everybody was looking
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around constantly. that subsided here, as well around the country. however, it doesn't mean that law enforcement officials here in this area let up. and for that reason we often get e-mails on our blackberries, we get warned not to go down a hallway because there's a suspicious package. i got to tell you, most of us kind of raise our shoulders and say, okay, we'll wait for it to be cleared assuming it's going to be negative. today, obviously that's not the assumption because of the heightened state of -- maybe i shouldn't say the word alert but anxiety people are feeling particularly here in the united states capitol. >> yeah. i think you can use the word alert because people are at a heightened state of alert right now. law enforcement not only here in boston but in new york and washington, in los angeles, elsewhere around the country just out of an abundance of caution f you will, they want to make sure they don't suffer any tragedy that occurred here on monday. dana, i just want to update our
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viewers who may just be tuning in on what's going on with the investigation into the bombings, the terrorist bombings that killed three people, injured nearly 200 other people here in boston. our john king is learning from a law enforcement source here in boston that there is in the words of this law enforcement source "significant progress in the criminal investigation into these two bombings that occurred monday at the end of the boston marathon." and this official saying "this is significant." now, we don't know what that progress is. we don't know all the details. they're only beginning to come in right now. john is working his sources. we'll check-in with him very, very shortly. but in marked contrast to yesterday when we heard from the fbi agent in charge that this investigation was really at its infancy. now we're getting word they must be making some significant progress if this law enforcement source says there's substantial
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progress and this is a significant development. john will be joining us shortly. we'll get some more information hopefully on what this progress is. hopefully we'll learn who was responsible for these terrorist bombings at the boston marathon. tom fuentes is joining us. tom, you're a former assistant director of the fbi, you're our cnn law enforcement analyst right now. if law enforcement sources are suggesting that there's substantial progress and this is significant, what does that say to you? do you think they have a breakthrough? >> well, i don't know if it's a breakthrough yet, wolf. but certainly it could be one of several things. you could have a better definitive idea of the bombs that were used in the attack and how they were made and where they were likely put together. that could be part of the information. also, you have the fact that the fbi is now finally able to interview many of the victims who have been taken to the hospital, getting surgery,
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heavily sedated not able to be talked to in the immediate aftermath, but maybe now as a result of being able to talk to somebody they might have a real eyewitness. in the initial aftermath everybody claiming to be an eyewitness was someone looking in another direction, maybe heard the bomb, heard the screaming, saw the running. they were an eyewitness for the aftermath. they weren't an eyewitness to somebody carrying in a package, acting suspiciously, placing it on the ground. then the package going up. so you had nobody in the beginning giving a physical description of someone to even be looking for. some of the descriptions that were put out about people could be almost anybody. so that could be part of the progress that they have a better description to work with, they have a better idea of the explosive components that were put together and how they were put together. that to me would be where the progress would be as more of a leading toward and there could be somebody that came forward to claim credit that we toent know of yet. that of course would be substantial if somebody wanted to admit it and claim their 15
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minutes of fame for this whole event. >> at some point we assume fbi and local law enforcement, boston police, will have a briefing here, a news conference. and we'll get some more information on what's going on. in the meantime we're working our sources to update you on the criminal investigation into the terrorist bombings that occurred here in boston on monday. we're watching what's happening here in boston, also in washington, d.c. right now a suspicious letter initially tested positive with the poison ricin addressed to the president of the united states coming a day after a similarly suspicious letter addressed to senator roger wicker, republican of mississippi. and now other suspicious letters emerging at the hart senate office building, the russell senate office building. we're going to take a quick break. we'll continue all of the breaking news conference when we come back. the kyocera torque lets you hear and be heard
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we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer reporting from boston where we're following breaking news on several fronts.
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first of all, here in boston our own john king is reporting now quoting a law enforcement source in boston saying that there has been substantial progress -- a direct quote "substantial progress in the criminal investigation into who may have been responsible for the bombings." the terrorist bombings on monday at the end of the boston marathon that killed three people and injured nearly 200 others. john king will be joining us momentarily. he's getting more information. substantial progress he's reporting in this criminal investigation. meanwhile, in washington, d.c., very, very nervous folks right now as a result of what they suspect are ricin -- the poison ricin-laced letters sent to a united states senator roger wicker of mississippi. and now also a similar letter sent to the president of the united states, president obama. the letter never reached the white house. it was intercepted at an offsite
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screening center as all parcels, all letters sent to the president are, but once again they're investigating that initial test positive, but that's just initial. it could change. there are other letters, suspicious letters and packages also being investigated right now on capitol hill in the hart senate office building, the russell senate office building an individual walking around with a backpack delivering letters and law enforcement now questioning that individual to see if those letters do contain any suspicious powder, any suspicious material. certainly something as deadly as ricin would be a huge, huge problem. reminds a lot of us of the anthrax-laced letters that were delivered to u.s. senators, to members of the news media back at the end of 2001 shortly after 9/11 that killed some individuals, including two postal workers who just randomly touched those letters and the anthrax actually wound